tv [untitled] March 20, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT
the iranians, certainly undermining the assad regime is very important. and at what point do we show the same resolve to the friends of syria that the russians have shown to the assad regime? it's quite clear to me that the friends of the syrian regime are quite clear and resolute in their support, but those of us who are very concerned about what's been going on with mr. assad, we seem to be flailing about for a policy. we offer humanitarian assistance. but at what point do we consider supporting the rebels militarily? i'm not saying boots on the ground. i'm not even talking about no-fly zone impositions. but doing something to support the opposition. >> well, i appreciate the opportunity to address syria. this is an issue of utmost priority and concern. and clearly we are as appalled and disgusted with what is happening in syria as anybody else. the reality, though, is that
each of these circumstances, syria, libya, yemen, egypt, tunisia, are different in very important respects. not just in the ways you described, that there isn't an international consensus, that the russians and chinese have blocked action, that the arab league hasn't requested this kind of support, but they're different in terms of the dynamics on the ground. they're different in terms of the cohesion and the effectiveness of the opposition. you know, in libya you had an opposition that from the earliest days controlled a degree of territory from which it could push out. that's not the case in syria. and so interest is and remains in seeing this government go, seeing assad go, and a democratic transition emerge as soon as possible. but the best way to get there in our judgment is not in this instance through the use of military force or even at this stage arming an opposition whose
leadership and cohesion we know very little bit about. >> i'm not talking about us engaging militarily. i'm just simply saying at what point do we support rebels militarily? i mean, it just seems to me that the alternative is to watch them all be slaughtered. >> sir, that's indeed the question i'm trying to address. and the answer is that we believe that the best approach is threefold -- one, to increase the pressure on the assad regime. and we have put strong sanctions. we have seen others do the same. the region. and we need to tighten that noose, point one. yes indeed, we do care about the humanitarian situation. and we are seeking greater access and providing humanitarian assistance. but third, we're trying to support the opposition, to unify and cohere both internally and externally. at this stage there is quite a distance to go in that regard and we think the best solution remains a politically negotiated solution rather than further militarizing the situation through the insertion of
military aid to the opposition, an opposition which frankly we still know very little about. >> we made some of the arguments with respect to the libyan opposition, too. we didn't know a lot -- >> and we didn't provide them with arms. >> i want to move over to the unesco question quickly following up on mr. rothman's comments about consequences. i guess there are all sorts of consequences here. but what are the consequences if we go back on our word? this subcommittee was pretty clear that if the palestinians went to the u.n., unesco, that there would be consequences. we said it, we meant it. and i thought that there have to be consequences. but what's the consequence to us, to all of us if we go back on our word? >> i appreciate the question. first of all, there are consequences, as we've just discussed, for the palestinians, which in our judgment is where the consequences ought to lie. the consequences shouldn't be on us or against us, the united states. that's self-defeating. that wasn't the intent of the
legislation. and we now have a situation where in unesco and potentially other agencies a law that was intended to deter is having -- is failing to deter and then boomeranging on us. i don't think it's going back on our word or giving the palestinians a bye to take remedial action that protects u.s. interests while at the same time maintaining the legislative actions you've already taken that will in fact have consequences for the palestinians. >> thank you. mr. schiff. >> thank you, madam chair. and welcome, ambassador. it's great to see you. appreciate your superb job. i want to follow up on mr. dent's questions. i share his frustration, i think that of many americans, when we hear the syrian opposition say why has the world forsaken us? and i know we are trying. but it's appalling to see the kind of bloodshed that's going
on there. and i've been very gratified to see the strong words that you have spoken against what russia and china have done, particularly russia. recently there have been some statements by the russian foreign minister that they might be amenable to something that kofi annan is working out recently. the chinese have indicated they might not veto another resolution. do you see any meaningful movement on the part of either country? and if there's still time after that question, i'd love to get your thoughts on the situation in north korea. i was surprised, frankly, that kim jong un agreed as early in his tenure to resume discussions, but then of course very disappointed with the announcement of these satellite launches. does that completely scuttle the
opportunity for discussion? do you see any new window with the invitation for iaea inspections? and how do you assess that situation? >> thank you very much, mr. schiff. russia and china in the security council. their behavior to protect the assad regime has been reprehensible. and i think, frankly, they have heard that message from the entire international community, not just the united states and our western partners. the entire arab world and the majority of members of the united nations. soon after the second double veto the general assembly took up more or less the same resolution that was blocked in the security council. it was adopted by an overwhelming majority, over 130 countries voted in favor. a very small handful, i think
about eight countries, voted no. and they include russia and china and venezuela and zimbabwe and north korea and iran and syria. it was company that one would -- it's very unique company that russia and china typically don't like to find themselves in. that has been followed by continued strong action out of the human rights council and repeated international unity with the glaring exception of russia and china on issues related to syria. i think the combination of that kind of isolation has given them, particularly the chinese perhaps to a greater extent than the russians, some pause. they are both embarked on public relations efforts, particularly
in the arab world, to try to mitigate the consequences of their actions. and i do think that should -- that the appointment of kofi annan and the efforts that he's trying to make provide a potential, underscore potential, point of convergence among the members of the security council. so we're discussing this week not a new resolution but a strong what we would call presidential statement to lend support to kofi annan's efforts. it will be interesting to see whether russia and china having supported kofi annan's appointment are able to agree on a statement. it would be the first unified statement out of the council of any substance since last august in support of what kofi annan is trying to accomplish. that will give us some indication potentially of where they're going on this. but i do think that with each successive effort to stand up to protect assad in the context of
his atrocities it does cost russia and china in important ways that are not lost on them. let me turn, if my time permits, to dprk. the north korean announcement on friday that they intend to do a satellite launch at some point in april was highly provocative. it's absolutely in violation should they do it of their obligations under security council violations. it violates in our view the february 29 agreement that was reached. the good news is that all of the key players, including all of the players in the six parties including russia and china have made very clear their opposition to this and their view that it would be a violation of north korea's obligations under international law. should they go through with it,
it would certainly make any progress on the agreement that was reached very difficult and would underscore that what they say and what they do tend to be quite divergent. in the meantime, we are consulting with our partners in the region. we are working to underscore that it would be wise for the north koreans not to pursue this announced intent to launch a satellite. >> thank you. mr. austria. >> thank you, madam chairman. excuse me. ambassador, thank you for being here. i appreciate it very much. i have three questions i want to ask all three and -- >> i'll try my best. >> i feel it's important to bring up on unesco, and i think it's been pointed out that -- recommendation for palestinian statehood.
successful with unesco. but i think that, you know, the position i think that many of us are looking at is that the immediate halt in the u.s. funding sent a powerful message to all other u.n. bodies as well as the palestinians that the u.s. is serious about its intent for negotiated peace. i agree with you unesco does good work. the concern is that resuming that funding at this time would send the wrong message to the palestinians at this particular time. and i appreciate your willingness to work with this committee in trying to come up with how to deal with a waiver -- thank you. sorry. >> i could hear you. >> okay. as long as you're able to hear me. a waiver in which the president has put in his budget and which you've described because i think it's important, again, sending that message right now is a concern we have with the unesco.
let me also -- and this is kind of jumping over to israel. while we greatly appreciate, and i personally appreciate your ongoing efforts to defend israel at the united nations, nonetheless, i think israel continues to be singled out constantly well beyond any sense prove portion. and israel seems to be treated differently at the u.n. than any other country. and let me zero in on two areas. because of the strong u.s. leadership israel was granted a seat in the western europe and others group, w.e.o.g., in new york. and for that effort i thank you. we appreciate that. but unfortunately, israel was not a member of the w.e.o.g. in geneva, and therefore is effectively banned from many if not most u.n. organizations and agencies. my question is what is the u.s. doing to granted full membership rights throughout the u.n. system? and then if there's time if you can give us a briefing on
hezbollah rearming and what's going on in that part of the region. >> i'm sorry. i didn't hear -- >> what can be done with hezbollah and what the u.n. and the u.s. is doing to help prevent the flow of arms going that direction because it seems as though there's been a blind eye, so to speak, with the flow of arms toward hezbollah. and if you could clarify that, i'd appreciate that very much. >> okay. thank you. let me begin by coming back to unesco. >> yes. >> we need to ensure that the legislative and policy tools that we have and use meet the desired effect and hit their intended target. the intended target is in this instance not unesco the programs. not the united states vote and leadership, which has already frankly suffered in unesco as a
result of our withholding of funding. and we've created a void in which china and qatar and others have come behind us with moy we funding, filling the gap and turning them in a direction that serves their interests. the target is to change the palestinians' calculation. and the palestinians aren't frankly dissuaded by something that doesn't impact them. in a way, if we wanted to be really cynical, if you're the palestinians you get membership and you get a diminished u.s. role in an organization where we're otherwise there, present, standing up for our interests, defending israel, and doing things that we think is important. so the legislation is in effect inadvertently a two-fer for that course of action. >> but would you agree that when we halted that u.s. funding it sent a powerful message to the pall? >> the message to the palestinians was not stop your march through the u.n. agencies.
the message to the palestinians unfortunately, and i realize this is not the intent, was if you get into these u.n. agencies not only do they get a vote but we get diminished influence. so i don't believe that it is working in the way it was intended. i don't believe it is deterring the palestinians or flankly other member states from making of policy issues ey base on a and their own calculations of national interests. it is only having the unfortunate and unintended consequence of dealing us out of organizations in which we have an important interest. and that's why the administration is of the view that we need to ok we need to ensure that we are using the tools at our disposal in a targeted way at the inte intended target. and that's the difference between the 1990 and 1994 legislation that is problematic and what's done in the context of the legislation you that all adopted at the end of last year.
>> thank you, madam chairwoman. thank you for your service. i always admire people who are willing to serve our country. and you obviously are doing that. so we thank you for that. i will, however, tell you, and i mean this with the greatest respect, that my jaw has been consistently dropping today as i've heard some statements. you mentioned, for example, circumstances when we discredit the u.n. do you not understand that we discredit ourselves when we don't follow up on our commitments? for example, you also mentioned that the determinates -- that unesco knew about what the policy was of the united states and yet they still voted how they voted in the case of israel, so therefore we should in essence get rid of that deterre deterrent. again, should we not -- does it not hurt our national interest, hurts our national interests when we back away from our pre-existing
stated positions, when they violate those positions and we just walk away from them and look for other alternatives? you don't think that discredits our credibility? >> first of all, what we would be reversing is legislation that was enacted -- >> our position. >> -- many years ago in a very different time in very different circumstances. legislation refers to the plo, which no longer is relevant. now, that doesn't mean that the goal is not one we share and want to pursue, which is to deter and dissuade the palestinians from making a further march -- >> and unesco. and deterring unesco as well. and the u.n. and the world health -- world health organization and others as well. >> but let's be clear what it means to deter unesco and the world health organization. it's not deterring a body sitting in geneva. it's deterring the decisions of 192 other member states.
individually. and there is not one single blunt instrument that has that cumulative effect. it just doesn't work that way. >> so therefore, we disregard our policy? >> no, what we do -- >> that's your approach? >> -- is devise policies that serve our interests. we don't stick to policies that are many years old that are no longer working as intended and are in fact self-defeating. instead, we customize the tools for the time. i think your legislation, adopted in december, did that. and that puts pressure and targeted pressure on the palestinians. we can sit here and talk, and i'm happy to do, about what do we do about the other 192 u.n. member states and how do we influence their decisions on this. that's what we do every day in terms of our diplomacy. but that's not the same as shooting a single scattershot at
an institution like the world health organization or like unesco, which is an aggregation of programs and activities that serve our interests. >> madam ambassador, that's assuming that there are no other alternatives in this world. and there are other alternatives. in other words, i firmly believe that this attitude, whether it was the reset attitude with russia months after they have invaded our ally georgia -- and by the way, that has proven to be a dismal disaster. whether it's in the russians' attitude toward georgia, toward syria, to the u.n. dismal disaster. and i just have to quote even one of your tweets regarding that russian vote in the u.n. where you were pretty offended, and i think rightfully so. that was after the reset. now, as opposed to on the contrary not just stepping up pressure to unesco because of by the way, this is the same unesco that recently voted in
their human rights committee to keep -- to keep syria in it. as opposed to stepping up pressure. now we're going to back up and back off from a pre-existing position of the united states. and that position has been -- and i agree with it, that we're going to stand up for israel. we're going to stand up against organizations who have an anti-israeli tendency, whether it's unesco, whether it's the u.n., whether it's anybody else, and it seems that this administration consistently is backing down, backing up, and unfortunately, madam ambassador, the results, which is what matter, have been dismal. whether it's the reset with russia. whether it's their attitude. whether it's china. whether it's north korea now, by the way, which was mentioned. and clearly with israel, even though there are statements made, but statements don't make results saying, you know, how strong this administration is standing up for israel. the reality is that the facts do
not bear that out. and i think it's frankly putting us at great risk and putting our allies at great risk. >> well, if i have time still to respond -- >> you do. >> -- i'd like to say, first of all, i completely reject the notion that this administration is not every day all day standing up for our ally israel in terms of the strongest security relationship this country has ever had, in terms of day in and day out what we do in the united nations and all of its agencies to defend and promote israel, including its inclusion in additional groups. we have managed to work to get israel included in groups that it was excluded from in new york and geneva over the course of the last three years. the juice cans group for the fifth committee, for the second committee, for various things. with u.s. support israel has been able to join the boards of unicef and undp for the first time. with u.s. support israel is playing a much more prominent role throughout the united nations system.
and it has been very generous in crediting u.s. assistance and support in helping it get to that place. i will not take a seat -- a back seat to anybody on u.s. support for and defense of israel in the united nations. and when it comes to unesco, look only at what israel is doing in its own interests. it is still voluntarily funding programs that it thinks are important. while we are not. >> ambassador, i have one question. we'll make another round, but you'll need to be concise in this to get to everyone. we're hearing reports that iraq may be facilitating arms shipments to syria to support the opposition, and so it's very disheartening. i would say what is the u.n. doing to investigate those allegations? and if they're found to be true and iraq really is in violation of its international obligations, what steps can we expect the u.n. to take? >> thank you, madam chairwoman.
we have also heard such reports. they are of concern. we are certainly working assiduously to -- in communication with the ensure t shipments are not -- that they undertake their obligations to ensure that any shipments that may be transiting their territory are not in violation of u.n. sanctions. understand that the sanctions they would be violating are the iran sanctions. weapons beyond its borders. the united nations has a robust effort to monitor and enforce existing sanctions, especially against iran. we will review those sanctions as we do quarterly again tomorrow in the security council. and we -- that sanctions
committee has a panel of experts that investigates and reports on violations of all sorts. so for example, the iranians were caught violating the sanctions regime with a weapons shipment that was discovered in west africa over a year ago. so we encourage first of all reporting, investigation, and accountability and certainly this is an issue that we are watching very carefully and trying to ensure that iraq is meeting its international obligations. >> thank you. mrs. loewy. >> thank you again for your service. and i just want to applaud the administration's decision, which was greeted with some opposition during the last few years, to become a member of the human rights council again. and we've seen in the last few days the impact of that decision on policies regarding israel. certainly i'm just seeing in the
news u.n. cancels hamas official visit to human rights council after israeli complaint. ishmael al ashkar was scheduled to appear before the u.n.'s human rights council in geneva. israeli ambassador says al ashkar advocating violence against israel. if we had not been part of that council, again, which many people objected to, we wouldn't have been able to have taken that action. also u.s. -- in another news report, u.s. ambassador to the u.n. -- human rights council eileen chamberlain donna who said, took a strong position, and she made the statement, "the united states on monday urged the united nations human rights council in geneva to stop its biased treatment of israel." it took particularly issue with agenda item 7 on which -- and this is something i've been complaining about.
and she said the united states continues to be deeply troubled by the council's bias and disproportionate focus on israel, as exemplified by the standing agenda item. i think it's very important that the united states became part of this council, and i want to applaud the secretary of state and yourself for taking that position. but i want to reference one other issue, and that is women and michel bachelet and what we're doing with the u.n. , as ts to address women's you have i know, to raise the status of women. and we see, and i've heard the secretary of state say this many times, in countries where women are in positions of power there are much more peaceful
situations. in most countries. >> in this committee. >> and in this committee. that's right. we may be the only bipartisan committee around here. but that's what happens when women are in charge. well, we'll let that go. let me just say, i am very concerned about potential cuts in the operation of u.n. women as it moves forward with its work. president obama requested 7.9 million for u.n. women for fy 2013. i'm hoping that number stands or increases. could you share with us how that funding will be used? and does it include a contribution for the u.n. trust fund to end violence against women? i am so interested in the work of this committee. i can remember visiting kenya with secretary of state clinton.
and as we visited the micro enterprise projects, which were really important to the individual communities, nurturing families in the entire village, some of the men with all due respect to the good men on this committee who are in positions of power, whether they're a councilman or a governor, would come by and collect their share. so after these important investments in these micro enterprise programs there was very little left for the women who shared their resources with the entire village. so if you could just tell us about this program, what do you expect, is the money enough? how will it be used? thank you. >> thank you very much. let me try to do this quickly. first of all, i appreciate your comments on the decision to join the human rights council. i share your view. it has benefited u.s. interests and advanced u.s. values. we remain outraged and appalled by the continuation of agenda item 7, which is the serial bashing of israel at the human
rights council. we continue to fight against it. and you heard ambassador donahue's statement yesterday. and we'll be doing that throughout the duration of the week. but let's look at what has been accomplished under u.s. leadership. for the first time ever a special raporteur on iran. several strong resolutions on syria including the establishment of a commission of inquiry that has revealed so much about assad's abuses. kicking libya out in a special session. and there too an important commission of inquiry that has shed the light on gadhafi-era abuses. important resolutions on sudan, burma, north korea, democratic republic of congo, et cetera. a new aporture for the first time on freedom of assembly and association. and a working group of experts to prevent discrimination against women. among many other positive steps. with respect to u.n. women, let me say we very much strongl